There are times I just need everything to be softer—days when the world is crunchy enough and all I crave is a nice, downy pillow. I recently discovered that soft, comforting pillow in the form of a delicious dessert: the winning entry to Trader Joe’s very official Banana Recipe Contest. Anyone can submit an original banana-focused recipe using five or fewer Trader Joe’s ingredients via Instagram. TJ’s just announced the grand prize winner and I immediately tried the recipe.
Best-Ever Banana Whoopie Pies, submitted by Louise Nielsen, boasts a luscious banana cream sandwiched between two soft banana cookies. It more than lives up to its name. It’s my banana-loving husband’s new “favorite dessert ever,” and a treat we’ll be making all summer long.
Nielsen’s Best-Ever Banana Whoopie Pies are easy to make. They call for seven Trader Joe’s ingredients (two are freebies that don’t count against the five-ingredient max): fresh and freeze-dried bananas, coconut oil (a freebie), heavy cream, powdered sugar (another freebie), eggs, and TJ’s Banana Bread Mix—the secret weapon that helps this recipe come together in no time.
How To Make the Best-Ever Banana Whoopie Pies
To make the whoopie pies, combine 1 box TJ’s Banana Bread Mix, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 2 eggs, and 1 mashed banana. Once that’s thoroughly mixed, use an ice cream scoop or spoon to portion out cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. (I got 16 cookies that yielded eight whoopie pies.) Nielsen suggests giving each cookie lots of space because they spread out, so I ended up using two baking sheets. Bake the cookies in a 350ºF oven for about 10 minutes.
While the cookies are baking, it’s time to make the banana cream. This is the best part—I had to use every ounce of self control not to eat this lightly banana-flavored cream right out of the food processor.
For the banana cream, process 2 ounces of freeze-dried bananas and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a food processor until powdery. Add 3 cups of heavy cream and process until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. (This velvety mixture would make a great filling for banana cream pie.)
After the cookies are cool, assemble the whoopie pies by spooning banana cream onto the bottom of a cookie and topping it with another cookie. Pop them in the fridge for a few hours (though you could eat them as is), and you’ve got a treat for when you need a soft, creamy, banana-flavored pick-me-up.
My Honest Review of TJ’s Winning Banana Contest Recipe
These whoopie pies are perfect just the way the recipe is written. Next time I make them (which will be all summer long), I will add mini chocolate chips to the banana cream or I will roll the whoopie pies in crushed peanuts for another layer of flavor. Either way, Nielsen came up with a winner of a recipe just in time for National Banana Day (May 17).